By Jo Scott, Careers Leader at Thornton College
Apprenticeships are growing in popularity as businesses offer them internally, hoping to upskill or re-skill their existing workforce. The archaic perception on apprenticeship is evolving meaning that more and more school leavers who can’t afford or don’t want to go to university are looking for avenues to earn as they learn. Unfortunately, a big proportion of businesses believe young people are unprepared for the world of work and hesitate to offer apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers. To understand the importance of promoting degree apprenticeships at schools we spoke to Jo Scott, Careers Leader at Thornton College.
What are your thoughts on degree apprenticeships?
Degree apprenticeships are fantastic! Personally, I only have positive thoughts about them and am super keen to promote them to all students. However, the stumbling block is there are not enough of them and often companies use the schemes to further develop their current workforce.
My thoughts are that degree apprenticeships are meant to be an alternative to university, and predominantly for school leavers. I would love to see more companies looking at ways to attract school students. From a company’s perspective, it is a huge opportunity to employ young people at an age where employers can mould and train them to fit with their values, forming a strong foundation for employee loyalty and engagement.
Do you think there is an appetite from students to apply for apprenticeship roles?
Yes, I do. However, they do become despondent fairly quickly if there are not roles available in the sector they are interested in, and they cannot find out about opportunities.
What are the most frequent questions you get asked from students who are looking for apprenticeships?
Where can you find them and in what job sectors are they.
What are the biggest obstacles for students who want to become a degree apprentice?
The biggest obstacle for students is finding out about them! There is no central hub where ALL degree apprenticeships are advertised. Many companies do not use the Government website. Companies release vacancies at different times of the year, and often change this from year to year, which means students are not aware of when and where to look. For degree apprenticeships to be successful they need to be accessible and plenty of them!
Regarding recruitment, all too often the degree apprenticeship selection process is exactly the same as the one designed for graduates. Companies need to make their recruitment age appropriate and remember that a 17-year-old is very different from a 21-year-old!